Monday, April 22, 2013
Middle Fork Feather River, Lake Davis, North Fork Yuba River Fishing Reports
The Middle Fork Feather River in the Graeagle area is about a month early and is fishing like it does in late May. Water temps are running 52 in the morning and 55 during the warmest point of the day. Gray Eagle creek and Frazier creek are running at 50 degrees, normally these creeks should be running at around 46. The weather was so gorgeous this weekend, warm and comfortable! It was such a pleasure to back on home water that I know so well.
Hatches? Wow! Skwalas, Gray Drakes, Brown Duns, March Browns, and a few BWO’s in the mix. No fish rising at all but they are taking sub surface aquatic insects. The top producing flies were olive Copper Johns #16 and San Juan Worms in earthworm color. Not that much lead is needed as the flows are very low for this time of year. No dinks in the last few days as well, wild rainbows ran 12-17” with two at 18”! It’s been a long time since I have seen some big fish come from out of the depths here. Streamers were also used with a fast sinking line in the big pools but only one good bump on a 4” long Double Bunny. Spring is the best time to land a trophy brown trout here in the upper watershed.
I’m so surprised at how well the river is fishing right now! If the warm weather continues with no precipitation you can bet the Graeagle area will be too low and warm when June rolls around and one must fish below where Jamison Creek enters the river; In other words get it now while it’s good!
Much has changed since my last report at Lake Davis. The large majority of the fish are done with the spawn with some remaining in the feeder creeks that have a good enough flow to them. There was a strong North wind Thursday through Saturday and fishing was slow. Water temps have come up a bit into the lower 50's and the blood midge have started to hatch, the size of them are big; #10.
Since the fish are so scattered and are on the move I tried a different tactic today. I put in the electric trolling motor at the slowest speed and my guy casted to different areas using a floating line with a weighted Jay Fair trolling fly #8 in brown with copper flash. We netted 3 fish in about an hour and all the fish were dark and beat up from the spawn, they were not pretty!
Loons, Cormorants, and Pelicans cruised the lake looking for fish to eat. By studying the birds I was able to locate pods of rainbows and intercept them.
To sum it all up the majority of the fish are in the south lake from Catfish cove up to Camp 5 and are holding in the upper water column from the surface down to 5 feet. I saw a damsel swimming gracefully on the water’s surface on Saturday; this could be a good omen for the future of the hatch this year. I watched a troller clean his fish and stomach contents revealed junk; moss, and other organic matter. That right there tells me the bugs are not out in force yet and things are early. As I type this I’m sure conditions have changed as everyday this coming week will be warm. It won’t be long and in the following weeks the fish will settle down and be more likely to hit a fly. I will say being back on the boat was quite a joy, and how I love Lake Davis - What a pretty girl she is!
On my way back to Nevada City I rolled on down Highway 49 and checked conditions on the North Fork Yuba. It’s running a bit high but very fishable. I stopped by The Lure resort to drop off some brochures and water temps were at 52 degrees, there was no bug activity at all.
I put on the waders in the Rocky Rest area and fished on my own with a rubber leg Golden Stone #6 with Hogan’s Red Headed Step Child trailed behind it. I also ran a bunch of split shot to get down. Water temps here were at 56 degrees. The fish were not at the heads of runs but in deep tail outs. One dink came quickly to the net. I probed a deeper slot and hooked a very large fish that possibly ran 20”. I got a good look at it from a top view but I never saw the side of it so I don’t know if it was a brown or a rainbow. I played the fish for about 8 minutes (seemed like an eternity to me!) before the fly pulled out. Damn! There was a little chunk of flesh on the Golden Stone Nymph; I guess that fish wanted a big meal.
The first flower of the season Darmera Peltata or Indian Rhubarb was out lining the banks of the river, absolutely stunning! As far as bug activity a few Gray Drakes, Carpenter Ants, and some caddis was all that was out. It will be while before the North Fork shapes up but I imagine it won’t be long!